The first time we had a conversation with visual artist Justin Richburg, we wanted to find out how he came up with the “Dice Game.” Who would think Malcolm X and Mike Tyson would be holding side bets? Looking on as they hope Allen Iverson rolls a snake-eyes.
Since then, we have become better acquainted with the Philadelphia artist. Indeed the “Dice Game” grabbed our attention with its controversial arrangement. Never shying away from controversial art, his new “Sellout” piece suggest a black man is a sellout if he chooses to date a white woman.
In contrast, the second half of the image shows a black woman dating a white man. Her friends are ecstatic and considered the woman to be “living her best life.”
As an illustration, he effectively highlights issues between race and relationships in which our society still struggles with. Therefore, we have invited Richburg back for another conversation to offer his take on the issues. In our latest conversation, you can tell Justin can find humor in any situation. Even with a more serious subject matter, he still manages to allow his natural sense of humor to shine through. Currently courting his own “caramel swirl,” We think the main point he want’s to convey is that when you strip away racial factors, a human is still a human and therefore, their character is what matters most. Would you agree with this sentiment? Or should dating partners remain within your race? Read his thoughts below and let us know what you think.
The Source: During our first conversation, you mentioned that you are often inspired by the things you see and the conversations you have with people. Can you tell us what you’ve been seeing and talking about that may have led to this creation?
Richburg: What made me do the picture was a conversation I overheard between two women of color, talking about it loudly in a Chick-fil-A line, oddly enough, it was the two cashiers and they took too long with my food.
What is your position on interracial relationships?
I’m cool with it. People gotta live their best life! F*** the haters.
Have you ever been in one yourself? If so, How long did it last? What did you learn from the experience?
I haven’t been in one, but I currently speak to someone that’s mixed like a light caramel swirl does that count?
Yes, your “caramel swirl” does count for something. What has the interaction taught you?
Nothing, to be quite honest.
Why do you think there is a stigma surrounding these kinds of relationships?
It’s a stigma because of the history of racism in America I think. People don’t like to see their race mixing with other races.
This piece challenges the opinion that black women are commended for dating white men, yet if a black man decides to date a woman he is considered a sellout. What do you feel classifies a sellout?
Because it’s more pressure on a black man to do right by black women, so if he’s seen with another race of women, he is seen as turning his back on his people.
Why do you think this double standard exist?
I don’t know, its got something to do with the Bible I think.
If a black man is dating a woman of color who is not black, would you consider him a sellout?
Not if she looks black! Then you good. (He chuckled)
There are some black women who only want to date white men. By the same token, there are some black men who only want to date white women. What is your opinion of people with this mentality?
They like what they like. We need more Ball bothers out here, I guess. (He chuckled again)
What do you want people to walk away with after they look at this “Sellout” piece?
I want them to stop being one sided.